Thursday, February 9, 2017

Chicks in the Mail

An entire box of cuteness!  I sneaked out of work early yesterday so I could get to the post office in time to pick up the box of little chickens that were waiting on me.  The last time I ordered chickens in the mail, the delivery lady called us before six in the morning and brought them right to the door.  This time, they didn't arrive until mid morning, and I was already at work.  When the mail lady called me, I could hear them chirping loudly in the background.  She assured me she would keep the box in the warm office until I could pick them up.  Once I finally arrived, she passed them to me with obvious relief.  The box was on a shelf right by her head!  She said they weren't driving her crazy, but I think she was just being nice.  

Wendigo and I were so excited to unpack our box of chicks that we tripped over each other as we scrambled to get the brooder set up.  Brandon had already helped me move the brooder box to the green house, but I hadn't yet cleaned it out and put everything together.  There were two holes chewed in the bottom of the brooder by the family of mice that we had to evict!  I hope these chickens have sturdy immune systems, because I swept up the mouse debris, blocked the holes, and sprinkled fresh woodchips, but I didn't sterilize.  

These are the frying pan special - twenty male chicks of whatever breed the nursery had extra's of, for only eighty cents each.  I also got ten female Rhode Island reds, which are supposed to be good layers that make brown eggs.  

I picked up each chick from the box, checked that it's backside was clean, dipped it's beak in the water dish, and then placed it under the heat lamp.  I imagine these babies went straight into the box from the incubator, so that first sip of water seemed amazing to them.  They would stand perfectly still under the light for moment while they experienced the sensation of something traveling down their throats.  What a strange but wondrous thing, they seemed to say, while they basked in the heat from the lamp.  It wasn't long before they were pecking at the food and helping themselves to more water.  Sometimes they would run in a big loop, just for the fun of it.  I guess when you start your life in a small dark box, moving to a big well lit box is quite an adventure.  

I think these red cuties are my new hens.

I seem to have three different types of boys.  Tiny brown ones with chipmunk stripes, fuzzy yellow chicks that would be perfect for Easter baskets, and some speckled boys with fuzzy nostrils.

I think I'm going to really like raising chicks in the green house.  Of all our outbuildings, it's the least drafty.  It was raining while I got the chicks settled, but it was comfortable in the greenhouse. I don't have as much worry that I'm going to burn us to the ground with the heat lamp either.

It was below freezing last night, but with the heat lamp and some plexi glass on the top of the brooder, the chicks didn't seemed stressed at all.  They weren't huddled directly under the heat, so I think they are staying warm.  I imagine I'll have to worry more about them getting too hot if we ever have a sunny day.  

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